Wednesday, 8 September 2021

FM Grlić Radman Discusses Situation in Bosnia With Čović and Zovko

ZAGREB, 8 Sept, 2021 - Croatia's Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Gordan Grlić Radman, on Wednesday discussed the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina with the leader of the HDZ BiH party, Dragan Čović, and the vice-chair of the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, Željana Zovko, the ministry said in a statement.

The meeting focused on the reform of Bosnia and Herzegovina's electoral legislation "to ensure the quality and legitimate political representation of the Croats", the steps that need to be taken by Bosnia and Herzegovina on its path towards European Union membership and how Croatia can help it in that regard.

Čović spoke of the current political situation and ethnic relations in his country and challenges to the achievement of legitimate rights for the Croats, while Zovko presented the European Parliament's activities concerning Bosnia and Herzegovina and the rest of southeast Europe.

Grlić Radman reiterated that Bosnia and Herzegovina has the support of Croatia and his ministry in political demands for the legitimate representation of the Croats "so that Bosnia and Herzegovina would be functioning, stable and prosperous and would achieve its Euroatlantic ambitions more easily."

They all agreed that amendments to the election law would contribute to the stability and functioning of Bosnia and Herzegovina and increase trust between the three constituent peoples and all other citizens in the country, the statement said.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 4 May 2021

Dragan Čović For Euractiv: Stop Discrimination Against Minorities And Outvoting of Croats

ZAGREB, 4 May, 2021 - HDZ BiH party leader Dragan Čović on Tuesday called for amending Bosnia and Herzegovina's election law to put an end to discrimination against ethnic minorities, whose members cannot run for the country's top posts, as well as to the outvoting of Croats as the smallest constituent ethnic group.

"It is intolerable that a part of our citizenry, including Roma and Jews, cannot run as candidates for the top state institutions. Creating just and fair solutions to these challenges, including through limited constitutional change, is one of the HDZ's major priorities in the election legislation alternatives we are proposing," the leader of the biggest BiH Croat party says in a commentary published by Euractiv and forwarded to the local media.

Čović notes that this is crucial for the country's progress towards EU membership as is putting an end to the outvoting of Croats.

"It is unconstitutional that the most populous community selects and determines who will represent the smallest constituent community, yet this is what is happening to the Croats and others in Bosnia and Herzegovina...

"We must adjust and reaffirm a power-sharing system in Bosnia Herzegovina that guarantees equal rights and does not discriminate against anyone," says Čović.

"This non-election year provides a chance we cannot afford to miss, in the implementation of electoral, rule of law, and economic reforms necessary for a path forward to EU and NATO membership," says Čović.

The European Court of Human Rights has made several rulings, of which the best known is the ruling in the Sejdić-Finci case, which calls for an end to discrimination against candidates wo do not identify themselves as Bosniaks, Croats or Serbs since they cannot run or be elected to the state presidency and the parliament's upper chamber, called the House of Peoples.

In its ruling of 2016 in the Ljubić case, the BiH Constitutional Court called for changing the election law to prevent the outvoting of constituent ethnic groups in elections for ethnically-designed institutions.

This has caused disputes about changes to the election law that have been going on for several years.

In 2020, Čović and Bosniak SDA party leader Bakir Izetbegović signed two documents on the reform of the election law with the mediation of US, EU and British diplomats, the OSCE Mission and the Office of the High Representative to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

One of the documents refers to ensuring conditions for local elections in Mostar and the other to changes to the election law to implement rulings of the European Court of Human Rights and enable legitimate political representation for the three constituent peoples in line with the BiH Constitutional Court ruling in the Ljubić case.

For more about Croats in BiH, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Thursday, 15 April 2021

Grlić Radman: Stability Reason for Croatian BiH EU Membership Support

ZAGREB, 15 April, 2021 - Croatia wants to see Bosnia and Herzegovina as a future member of the European Union because that is the only way to ensure stability in this area, and Bosnia and Herzegovina will have all our support, Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman said on Thursday.

"Bosnia and Herzegovina is our most important neighbour, a country with which we share 1,100 kilometres of border, a country made up of two entities, three equal peoples, including Croats, and it is our constitutional and moral obligation to help Bosnia and Herzegovina on its European path," Grlić Radman said in Kreševo at the end of his two-day visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

He visited the Franciscan monastery and a museum co-financed by the Croatian government, which should open soon.

"We want to help all areas of life of Croats in this place, where Croats make up more than 80% of the population, so that they would stay in this area, especially young people," Grlić Radman said.

Together with HDZ BiH party leader Dragan Čović, he visited the plants owned by the Stanić family, noting that these modern production facilities prove that it is possible to live and invest there.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.


Sunday, 13 January 2019

Croatia to Appoint New Ambassador to Bosnia

ZAGREB, January 13, 2019 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Saturday he had not talked yet with HDZ BiH president Dragan Čović, who has been criticised for attending a Republika Srpska Day commemoration, as has Ivan Del Vechio who, because of that, was dismissed as Croatia's ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) . "I leave it up to Mr. Ćović and the HDZ BiH to comment on this," Plenković told reporters in Split.

He reiterated that Croatia had not been informed that Del Vechio would attend the commemoration in Banja Luka on January 9. He said Del Vechio should have consulted Croatia if he had a meeting in Banja Luka that had nothing to do with the commemoration. "He shouldn't have been there on that day."

Plenković recalled that Del Vechio had been Croatia's ambassador to BiH five years and had never attended Republika Srpska Day commemorations. "It's a little unusual that he ended up in such a situation at the end of his term and career. That's why he was recalled to Zagreb for consultations and we will start appointing a new ambassador to BiH very soon."

Asked what message Čović had sent by attending the commemoration, Plenković said "it's extremely important that Croatia's stance on BiH is well-meaning and friendly." He added that Croatia had been the country "which has supported BiH's European journey the most, but by ensuring the equality of the Croat people as a constituent people, of course."

Plenković said he informed the European Council twice that BiH's current election law "makes it possible to get around the Dayton/Paris agreement, which is also BiH's Constitution, bringing Croats, as the least numerous constituent people, into an unequal position because their member of the BiH Presidency is elected by members of the other people in the Federation." He was referring to Bosniaks in the Croat-Bosniak entity, called the Federation.

Aside from government formation in BiH and the continuation of its European path, it is important that the international community, primarily the European Union, help BiH "adopt a just election law under which all three constituent peoples will be equal," Plenković said.

"We would certainly prefer it if Dragan Čović, who won 155,000 votes, or 80% of the vote of the Croats in BiH who went to the polls, was a member of the BiH Presidency and if he was seeing to the vital interests of the Croatian people in BiH," he added.

More news on Croatia’s relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina can be found in the Politics section.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Bosnian Croat Leader Attends Event for Controversial Bosnian Serb Holiday

ZAGREB, January 9, 2019 - The authorities of the Bosnian Serb entity on Wednesday organised commemorative events marking "the Republic Day", despite a 2015 ruling of the country's Constitutional Court that declared the entity's holiday to be contrary to the Constitution and discriminatory against the Croats and the Bosniaks.

Today's parade and celebrations in the northwestern city of Banja Luka, the biggest city in the Republic of Srpska (RS), were ignored by foreign diplomats in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with the exception of Russia's Ambassador. In attendance were also Serbia's Prime Minister Ana Brnabić and Defence Minister Aleksandar Vuilin as well as the top dignitaries of the Serb Orthodox Church, and the local Bosnian Croat leader, Dragan Čović of the Croatian Democratic Union of Bosnian and Herzegovina (HDZ BiH) was also among the guests.

Serbian Prime Minister Brnabić said in her speech that Serbs must stay united regardless of which state they lived in. "We will honour any decision made by consensus of all the three constituent peoples in Bosnia and Herzegovina but we are going to give special care for the citizens of the RS, which is completely natural," the Serbian prime minister said at the ceremony, adding that care for the RS entity did not mean hatred towards Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The entity's president Željka Cvijanović said that this entity was the expression of "the aspirations for freedom and peace", and said the local authorities would be committed to the defence of the entity's survival.

One of the commemorative events was a parade with 1,500 participants, mainly armed police officers. Some of them wore attire resembling uniforms worn by Serb troops in World War I.

The Banja Luka parade also included firefighters, civil protection staff, war veterans, student and local branches of the controversial Russian motorcycle club "Night Wolves" that is perceived to be close to Vladimir Putin. The club's leader Alexander Zaldostanov has been banned from entering Bosnia and Herzegovina and proclaimed a threat to national security.

No symbols of Bosnia and Herzegovina were displayed during the parade or at other commemorative events. On the other hand, numerous flags of the RS entity and Serbia were hoisted and only the official song of the entity and Serbia's anthem were played.

More news on the status of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina can be found in our Diaspora section.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

US Embassy Calls Bosnian Croat Leader’s Behaviour Irresponsible

ZAGREB, October 25, 2018 - US Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina said on Wednesday that HDZ BiH president Dragan Čović's claim, that the prerequisites to form a government in that country following recent general elections would not exist until the election law is amended, was irresponsible and unfair.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

US Embassy, EU Reject Bosnian Croat Demand

ZAGREB, October 16, 2018 - Leader of the Croatian Democratic Union in Bosnia and Herzegovina (HDZ BiH) Dragan Čović received an express rejection to his demands that before a new government is formed based on the results of the October 7 general election that amendments be made to the election law.

Friday, 5 October 2018

Plenković Visits Bosnian Croats Ahead of Sunday's Election

ZAGREB, October 4, 2018 - Croatia's Prime Minister and leader of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party Andrej Plenković called on the Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina to turn out in large numbers for the general election on Sunday, expressing hope that the leader of the HDZ's sister party, HDZ BiH, would be victorious.

Friday, 10 August 2018

Bosnian Croats Urged to Close Ranks for Upcoming Elections

ZAGREB, August 10, 2018 - The Bosnian Presidency's Croat member Dragan Čović has called on Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) to come together in upcoming general elections in order to prevent other, more numerous peoples in the country, to choose their government representatives.

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Croat Member of Bosnian Presidency Visits Zagreb

ZAGREB, July 26, 2018 - President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović on Wednesday met for a working meeting with the Croat member of the Bosnia and Herzegovina presidency Dragan Čović, who informed her of the current situation in that country and its European prospects, the president's office said in a press release.

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